Devin Townsend, Gojira, Avenged Sevenfold and At The Drive-In fall into a psychedelic turbo collider that spins these bands using wicked centrifugal force, and what walks out is The Peter Snell Experience, a high intensity, equal-parts-melody-and-rip-your-face-off band that obeys no boundaries. And despite the use of the four aforementioned bands as examples, The Peter Snell Experience sounds quite unlike any of them and, really, have a very unique sound that’s all their own. Their album Life In The Controposphere musically tells the story of a group of leaders who somehow manage to escape Judgment Day on Earth by flying to the moon, and follows their journey as they attempt to cheat that which cannot be cheated.
“Act I: Revelation” sounds alien, with garbled sounds emanating from different locations at the same time to create a sense of being surrounded. The first notes of music in the song are ominous and brooding, which open into some deliciously dissonant, grungy, dirty prog metal with all of the anticipation and buildup of the best doom out there. The music grows steadily more exciting and rambunctious, swirling on a tide of double bass and furious guitar chords. There are varying moods in this song which swing wildly from one moment to the next, creating the sense of being on some sort of high velocity ride through foreign territory.
“Act II: Building The Black Star” sounds much different even from the many phases of the first act. This song lacks the hope and excitement previously felt; instead, it feels more desperate and bleak, darker and deeper. The lyrics describe the discovery of a life-sustaining item, which gives the impression of fearful and empty happiness as the subject sounds torn between appreciating the gifts, the prospect of better life and being frightened of whatever it is providing the sustenance. The end of the song sees a moment of clarity as the fear is realized.
“Act III: The Floating Trees of Teth” starts off soothing, incorporating a nuanced jazz pop touch. The calm is short-lived as the drums take on a fury that doesn’t quite match the rest of the sounds layered over them. It’s as though they are showing the first signs of insanity and fight them in an attempt to stay in line. By the eight-minute mark the restraint is all but gone, and before the energy can go off the charts a new phase is started.
“Act IV: Reign of Judgment” comes around full circle, with a much more fleshed out version of the riff present in the first song complete with emotive accents. There are moments of what could be considered remorse, followed by frenzied final cries for salvation. A great crescendo announces the last couple of minutes of the song, with a wailing guitar solo leading the charge accompanied by crashing cymbals and double bass into a bone shaking climax – which then trickles into soft, lonely guitar notes that float into the distance.
This truly was an experience as immersive as sitting in an IMAX theater with 3-D glasses – but with music. Not only was the metal at the heart of this album solid and creative, but the elements layered on top, particularly with the use of jazz motifs, took this to a whole new level and put it in a league all its own. It would behoove everyone to set aside the time to give this album a thorough listen from beginning to end and enjoy the ride it’s going to take you on. I know I enjoyed it.
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